Skip to main content.

Thinking about a vasectomy? 5 things to know

Posted August 29, 2018 by Kevin Spear, M.D. Summa Health Urology

Vasectomy Blog

Perhaps you and your partner are thinking of a more permanent solution to birth control. If you’ve had the conversation of vasectomy versus tubal ligation - “getting your tubes tied” - you might be interested to learn that a vasectomy is a much easier procedure, is more effective at preventing pregnancy and has a much lower risk of side effects or complications. It’s also much cheaper; tubal ligation requires general anesthesia and surgery; a vasectomy only requires local anesthesia and an oral sedative.

If the idea of a vasectomy has crossed your mind but you may have some reservations, below are 5 things to know.

  1. The procedure is actually pretty quick, completed in an office setting. The whole procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes. It’s outpatient, minimally invasive and only requires a local anesthesia and an oral sedative. You may feel some discomfort or pain after the procedure, but most patients don't require more than rest, over-the-counter pain medication and ice. You may have some light bruising and swelling for the first few days, but most patients can return to strenuous physical activity in about a week.
  2. During a no-scalpel vasectomy, the doctor will make two tiny puncture holes to reach each of the tubes. The tubes are tied off and cauterized and there is no need for stitches on the skin.
  3. While they are reversible, you should approach this procedure as a permanent form of birth control. Although it is possible to perform a reversal surgery, there’s no guarantee the reversal procedure will actually work; plus, it is more expensive.
  4. It’s not an immediate form of birth control. It will take up to three months post-procedure for the semen to be completely sperm-free. Your physician will need to test the semen to make sure it is sperm-free before you should discontinue the use of other methods of birth control. Vasectomies do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
  5. It will not affect your sex drive. Vasectomies are permanent and one of the most effective kinds of birth control that is 99 percent effective. Because it takes the pressure off using other birth control, like condoms, partners can be more present in the moment. You can’t mess it up or forget to use it, like other common forms of birth control. It prevents pregnancy 24/7 for the rest of a patient’s life.

A few side effects, while very rare, do include: infection at the incision site and a condition called sperm granuloma. This happens when a lump forms from leaking sperm where the vas deferens has been tied or blocked off. Because sperm are still producing after the procedure, this can cause a build-up in the duct behind the testes and testicle. Usually, these small lumps cause no problems and disappear on their own. However, some may require an anti-inflammatory or antibiotic to help them clear.

You should call your doctor if you have a fever over 101° F, or pus coming from the incision site and/or excessive pain or swelling in your scrotum or testicle area. These symptoms could be a sign of an infection.

Learn more about the vasectomy procedure at Summa Health, including recovery time, effectiveness and potential complications.

Whether you and your partner are struggling to get pregnant, or you’ve made the decision to no longer be able to have children, Summa Medical Group urologists are ready to discuss your treatment options. Our highly qualified physicians perform outpatient vasectomies, as well as provide the latest in infertility testing and treatments. For more information about our urology services, call 330.374.1255.

Kevin A Spear, MD

Kevin A Spear, MD

View Profile


Options to Request an Appointment

If your situation is an emergency, call 911.